Education: “Iceberg Straight Ahead!”

The “ship” of education is headed toward an iceberg that could impact kids for years to come. Where will education be in 5-10 years? Obviously, the pandemic has placed it’s share of stress and worry on educators and parents alike. But, really, where is education headed?

In the article referenced later, 48% of teachers admitted to considering leaving the profession in the last 30 days. Regardless of your beliefs, Covid appears to be pushing teachers to a tipping point. At a minimum, it has caused significant complications and frustration for educators. Doing what is best for our kids is our largest priority, but this is not happening without an impact.

Red Flag

Working in education is a way of life for many educators. Most grow fairly accustomed to living at school. For years the children of teachers were more likely to pursue careers in education. However, in the past few years it has become more obvious that this trend has changed. Educators are not encouraging their own kids to go into the profession. This article, Teachers Are Not OK, Even Though We Need Them To Be, acknowledges that many teachers are not encouraging their kids to follow in their footsteps. This is disheartening and worrisome for kids and the profession.


In general, my perception is that staff morale is down across the profession. I have heard many educators say, “this year is harder than last year.” There has been a good portion of educators retiring in the last couple of years and it does not appear to be slowing down. Couple this with a smaller number of young teachers entering the profession and it is not hard to see potential problems. The graphic below displays the combination of stressors affecting teachers from my perspective.

65690935e9b5bd06666ffd1c teacher shortage

It’s not all doom and gloom in education, we still get to teach kids every day. We reap many rewards in the process of working with young people. But, the burdens have been mounting on teachers for years.  Prior to Covid, the most significant frustration was increasing requirements placed upon teachers. Many of these burdens or additional expectations distract teachers from doing their job. 

Piling On

In Missouri, new special education requirements are being introduced to educators across the state. Everyone would agree that quality educators in all classrooms is important, especially in special education classrooms. At what point do the requirements stop? Teachers are beyond the point where these requirements are a distraction to teaching and preparing for lessons. Teachers are wanting out, replacements are nowhere to be found and yet the state continues to pile on. I can’t help but think that attorneys are making these decisions and not educators.

Where Did Everybody Go?

In my school administrator role, I have witnessed the number of applicants for each job vacancy reducing for years. In this article from Education Week, “Fewer People Are Getting Teaching Degrees, Prep Programs Sound the Alarm”, it states that the number teachers entering the field has been declining for 10 years. The quality of teachers showing interest in vacancies also has been on the decline. We are hearing that teacher programs in universities are holding smaller numbers than they have previously. It’s been described as “the great resignation” in education and it feels like it. I worry about who will be teaching our kids in 10 years, the math does not add up. With a problem that has been developing over the past 15 years there is no quick fix. It also does not seem there have been many efforts to address the problem as of yet. As educators, we wonder how long we will wait before action is taken and how bad it will get.

Maxed Out

In this article, Why Education is About to Reach a Crisis of Epic Proportions, there are many concerning points made. One notable part of the article says, “take stuff off teacher’s plates” as a plan of what to do now. This is absolutely accurate. I have observed teachers crying and expressing frustration this year and at times they cannot explain why. These are trying times and teachers seem to be at their wits end. Just let them teach!


As an administrator, I believe our job is to filter as many of these distractions out so they don’t reach our teachers. But, this task has been difficult in recent years. Legislation and state requirements continue to heap distracting tasks on teachers.   Frustration is as high as it has ever been and we are desperately hoping better days are ahead. The need for administrators, parents and communities to support their teachers has never been higher. We cannot regulate educators into the perfect teachers with excessive training, we need to trust them to do their jobs!

Under The Radar, But Not Much Longer

I am concerned with where public education will be in 10-20 years. The warning signs are apparent right now. It would be easy to argue that what schools are seeing is more than warning signs. The impact of the iceberg is right in front of us, what will the end result be? How long will it take for legislators to act? What will we do when there are not enough certified teachers to fill our classrooms? It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Have you looked at the teacher vacancy websites lately?

No Quick Fix

If we were somehow able to lure more college students into the teaching profession this year, it would still take four years to see the results. This shortage hasn’t happened overnight and it will not be fixed overnight. It may take as long to work our way out of the shortage as it did to get where we are. The pandemic may have accelerated some teacher’s retirement decisions, but education has been headed toward a crisis for some time. I hope legislators are paying attention. Many of them seem to be more focused on pushing public school funding to private schools. That’s a discussion for another day, unfortunately the teacher shortage will feed the private school narrative.f

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top